A few weeks ago ProQuest offered free access to their Historic Map Works™ database during Library Week, 2013. ProQuest is often available at public libraries but Historic Map Works was new to me. I spent an evening searching for maps of the places where my ancestors lived, finally narrowing my search to Dixon's property.
The map of Parker Township, Butler County, PA, below, is one I already had. It is nearly identical to the one at Historic Map Works™ (except theirs is pink). You can see "D. Bartley" twice on the road that borders and splits from the railroad track south of Martinsburg. I wanted to know the name of that road. I'm comfortable with modern maps but I really need road and street names to get around.
At Historic Map Works™ I was able to overlay the old map onto a current one. The view, below, is at 100% opacity. I couldn't see the current map behind the old map.
I played with the opacity until finally, at 16%, I was able to see the old map with property owners' names and road locations and the new map with streets names. The map overlay does not exactly align both maps but layers them so that the roads on both maps can be seen parallel to each other.
I decided to begin searching at the Butler County Auditor's office on their Webmap Viewer to see if they showed photos of homes. Even though I didn't know an address I hoped that the website would provide addresses. It gave only property parcel numbers. It was hard to tell much from the aerial view and the markings on the map. Tired and exasperated, I went to bed.
I couldn't get Dixon's house on Bruin Road off my mind. Now that I knew an approximate location I wanted to know if it still existed and what it looked like if it did. The next day I decided to try a different approach. I went to Google Maps and typed in Bruin Road, Petrolia, PA. I love Google Maps street view because I can stop anywhere along the way and pan the camera 360°. The little man in the box at lower right of the screen indicates where I am on the street and which direction I'm headed. The views of homes are not high quality but I can get an idea what they look like.
Once there, I moved to street view and traveled along Bruin Road, a rural two-lane road. I was looking for houses between Snake Road and Daubenspeck Road. I knew from the photo of Dixon's home that there was a hill behind his house. As I was traveling east along the road I noticed that the terrain on the right (south) was low and on the left (north) was hilly. I began paying closer attention to the buildings on the left. You see the home on the left in the photo below? Is it? Could it be?
|Courtesy of Google Earth|
I arrived at what I believe is Dixon Bartley's old home. I was elated. I tried to get closer for a clearer image but it was not possible. What do you think? The same house or not?
|Image on right courtesy of Google Earth|
Dixon passed away in April, 1900. He divided his property like this:
- Thomas Bartley received 53 acres of land known as the James Dickson farm.
- Alvira (Elvira) Gerner received forty acres of the old homestead on which she then resided.
- Edward Boyed (probably Boyd) received 43 acres which was known as his mother Jane Bartley's share off the East end of the old homestead subject to the reserves in Fred Gerner's & Ace Steel's deeds, for roads & limestone.
- Lavina Steel received 40 acres off the old homestead.
- Gilmore Bartley heirs, Ross Bartley, Clara Bartley & Edward Bartley, received 100 acres joining Henry Daubenspeck, Thomas B. Smith on the South, the widow Walley on the West, Elexander Thompson on the north, Henry Daubenspeck & other on the East.
- Bell Steel & heirs received 50 acres in Fairview & Parker Township known as part of Thom Graig farm.
- Dixon's executor was to sell 41 acres lying West of Edward Boyed's share, the money to be applied to paying Sula Bartley (widow of Dixon's son, Washington) & funeral expenses, the balance if any left & residue of the old homestead was to go to Dixson Steel. [Did he mean Dixon Bartley or Ace Steel?]
- No division was to be made of the above property during Dixon's lifetime.